In last week’s blog we talked about why it is so important for businesses to make sure they have carried out the necessary risk assessments in their day-to-day work and when they are having any form of maintenance or construction work done.
This week, we want to highlight why it is so important to make sure that once you have identified any risks you make sure you address them fully.
A few weeks ago, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) shared the news of an incredibly sad court case. It centred around an incident involving a gas explosion which led to the death of one worker, another worker being seriously injured and an asbestos removal contractor being fined £150,000 for breaching health and safety law.
Hamilton Sheriff’s Court heard that on 5 October 2017, workers were removing a boiler and pipework, and overspraying walls to remove asbestos residue, at the former Pastoral Centre in Bonkle Road, Newmains in Wishaw.
The work was being carried out prior to demolition. The plan was to cut the boiler and pipework into sections to make it easier to remove. However, the gas supply had not been isolated and the workers cut through a live gas outlet pipe, the gas ignited causing an explosion.
Two workers received extensive burns to their body and underwent surgery. One of the employees died in hospital several days after the incident.
An investigation by the HSE identified that the risk assessment and plan of work for the job had identified services were present in the boiler room, but the company failed to ensure the gas pipe was isolated and purged of gas before work commenced.
Enviraz (Scotland) Limited of Kelvin Avenue, Hillington Business Park, Glasgow, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £150,000.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Helen Diamond said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided if the company had ensured that the gas pipe in the boiler room had been isolated and purged prior to removal. Within the asbestos licensing permissioning regime, HSE expects licensed contractors to have adequate management arrangements in place to control non-asbestos risks.
“Given the potential consequences of using a power tool on live or unpurged pipework, the management system to establish the status of the pipework needs to be robust and there should be written confirmation of isolation.
“Tragically, one man has lost his life as a result of this incident and a second worker has sustained life-changing injuries.”
How we can help you manage your risks
At Acorn Safety Services we offer Retained Health and Safety Consultant Services to help businesses successfully manage their day-to-day requirements and our experienced CDM (Construction, Design and Management) Consultants help organisations regulate the management of health, safety and welfare on their construction projects.
All our CDM consultants are hugely experienced and – as a minimum – hold memberships of either the International Institute of Risk & Safety Management (IIRSM) or The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) so clients know we provide the highest levels of CDM support services.
Our consultants’ wealth of experience comes from years of working on site which enables us to not only develop risk assessments but to review them and formulate site-specific documentation and procedures which work for our clients.
To help you successfully manage the health and safety requirements of your project all our CDM services offer our clients free access to their own live, secure, encrypted client portal. This provides them with 24/7 access to their health and safety data and reports whenever they want, which they can share with whoever they want, and clients also have 24/7 access to our CDM consultants.
We know how tragic the consequences of breaching health and safety law can be both to individual workers and to companies. That is why we take businesses by the hand and lead them through the minefield of health and safety regulations to make sure their staff and visitors are kept safe and their organisations, bosses and managers are protected from potentially crippling fines.